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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 12, 1999


Over the past several days I have closely monitored the labor dispute between American Airlines and the Allied Pilots Association. I am concerned about the impact this labor dispute is having on our nation and the traveling public. With the potential for enormous disruption over the upcoming Presidents' Day holiday weekend, I urge both parties to think of the impact on the traveling public, set aside their differences, and work together to resolve the issues between them. We have a long history and tradition of settling labor disputes in this country under the law. The Railway Labor Act provides the means for the airline industry to resolve these disputes.

It is my understanding that American Airlines canceled up to 80 percent of its flights yesterday, affecting major cities such as New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago, and that it might cancel at least half of its scheduled flights today. I commend the cities, the airports, the tourism industry, and the other major carriers for doing their part to keep domestic air traffic moving. However, even with all of the carriers doing their part, it is likely that thousands of passengers will be forced to change their travel plans. They are innocent bystanders in a dispute that should be set aside over the weekend and resolved at the bargaining table.

Again, I urge both sides to consider the impact their dispute is having on the traveling public as well as the millions of Americans who depend on the transportation and tourism industries for their livelihood.